Lean Management in Healthcare

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  • 0:04 What Is Lean Management?
  • 0:32 Basics of Lean
  • 1:03 Non-Value Practices
  • 1:40 Cost Effectiveness
  • 3:22 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Brianna Whiting

Brianna has a masters of education in educational leadership, a DBA business management, and a BS in animal science.

Reducing costs is a goal of almost all businesses. In healthcare, businesses not only want to cut costs but provide quality care. In this lesson we will learn how lean management can improve the healthcare industry.

What Is Lean Management?

Lean management is the process of eliminating wasteful procedures. While it has made a big impact in the business world, its core principles are also being adapted in many other industries, including healthcare.

While utilizing lean management in healthcare still involves eliminating wasteful practices, it also inspires a group to continuously look for ways to make improvements and promote a can-do attitude from the high school student to senior executives.

Basics of Lean

In order to make lean principles work, the business must:

  • Identify what the customer or patient wants or values
  • Deliver on those wants and values
  • Evaluate the delivery process, decide what steps did not add value, and eliminate them
  • Repeat the process until all waste is eliminated

When lean management is implemented correctly, an organization in the healthcare industry should be able to provide high quality care that is reliable, low cost, and puts safety as a main focus.

Non-Value Practices

One of the top priorities of lean in healthcare is determining which activities add value and which ones are wasteful. This means finding ways to increase productivity, reduce costs, especially administrative costs, and make smoother patient flow. These practices are usually translated into the following benefits:

  1. Minimizing patient wait time
  2. Minimizing patient's length of stay
  3. Greater patient safety
  4. Greater efficiency and higher quality care
  5. Reduction in errors
  6. Higher morale of employees and staff
  7. Unity as a group seeking the same common goal

Cost Effectiveness

Eliminating wasteful practices ultimately leads to lower costs. The following are ways the healthcare industry is utilizing lean management to cut costs.

1. Eliminating preventable events

Many times a patient suffers an event that could have been prevented, like a fall or bedsores. Because Medicare and private insurance companies are no longer covering preventable events, hospitals are losing money each time an employee is not doing their job correctly.

2. Reducing construction

Hospitals often want to make improvements or upgrades, but that costs money. Using lean management, hospitals can find ways to use what they already have and eliminate unnecessary construction and upgrades.

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